I AM the door (John 10:9)
In our arrogance and self belief we are used to finding doors being already open or being opened by others to lead us in. there are certain situations where the door is designed to open inwards and our efforts to push it open bear no fruit. The door was provided by God in the form of His Son but the Chief Priests and Jewish leaders attempted to push it instead of pulling Him inwards. “Lord Jesus knocks at the door” we cannot push using force but pull through humble submission and the Door opens to lead us into the presence of God the Father and abundant life.
Lord Jesus opened the door of the eyes of a ‘man who was blind from birth’ and the Light of the world started shining on him to lead him to a deeper understanding (John 9:1-41). The identity of the Messiah dawned on him during repeated interrogation by the Jewish leaders – first, it was ‘a man named Jesus’, verse 11; second, ‘He is a prophet’ verse 17; thirdly, ‘If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing’ verse 33; and finally the Messiah Lord revealed Himself as the ‘Son of God’ and the man who was healed worshipped Him verses 35-38. The Pharisees continued to doubt and Lord Jesus changed over to the care of the sheep by the shepherd to ensure their protection and nourishment to declare “I Am the door. If anyone enters by Me he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).
The Door of opportunity – The Greek word used for door in the verse is “thura’ which is translated as door and opportunity. After the hot weather conditions of summer, the whole earth is scorched with barely a shoot of dry grass available for the cattle – and even that crumbles to dust before reaching their mouths. However, immediately after the onset of rains, the same earth gets changed into a verdant green pasture with fresh grass everywhere. Our lives also are changed dramatically after we welcome the Lord Jesus into our hearts. The parched lives overwhelmed by sin and darkness receive that Light to bring about a dramatic change by bringing us into “green pastures and still waters” where our inner turmoil ends. Lord Jesus while teaching the Pharisees and others offered them an opportunity to come to Him to receive the blessed life that He was offering taking upon Himself the role of the Shepherd referred to in Psalm 23.
How do we enter “this Door”? – Acceptance of Lord Jesus as the Savior and thereafter obedience of His Word allows us entry. This door opens inwards and needs to be pulled open and pushed open, for He stands outside knocking ready to some in (Revelation 3:20). Thus it is not our power or strength that gets us in but our submission through a soft touch of pulling Him towards us. It is not our doing but His grace – He has chosen us; He leads us to Himself; He urges us through His Spirit to pull the Door open to invite Him in and He then leads us into a “new life in Him”.
What does “this Door” provide? – Any door basically separates two areas and the first blessing to us is to step from a sinful life into the realm of a blessed life of a “child of God”. Any door must provide three basic necessities – safety from one portion while being in the other; different opportunities in both portions without restriction and a happy and blessed existence of abundance. How does Lord Jesus as “The Door” provide us all these three blessings?
First – Safety and security – King David had experienced this throughout his life to claim this repeatedly in his Psalms “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2). It is the same safety he declares in accepting God as ‘my Shepherd’ who protects, provides for and gives victory over the enemies while protecting during difficult time (Psalm 23). This security has three parts – physical security for body and possessions; security of the soul from evil desires leading away from God and continuous eternal safety and security from the forces of darkness and evil forces.
By accepting Lord Jesus as our Savior we become part of the ‘Heavenly Family – children of God’ and receive entry into His ‘everlasting kingdom’ that ensures protection for its citizens. These two aspects of safety and security get merged into one in Lord Jesus who leads us from our present sinful state to victory over death, disease, conflict – internal and external and from rejection into His blessed embrace. Our past and present sins are removed from us ‘as far as the east is from the west’ (Psalm 103:12) and the Lord does ‘what is good for us’ and even saves us from our evil wants and desires.
Our humble submission and faith in Lord Jesus then saves us from ‘the principalities and powers and prince of this world’ who actually are our worst enemies leading us away from God. The Savior exhorts us to pray always to ‘God our Father’ not to lead us into temptation but to deliver us from evil and this is what we receive in the power of the Holy Spirit. He then works His Divine strength in us to empower us in our weaknesses and we are resurrected in the same power into a new life. In His power and Light He helps us enter through Him into this protected existence by closing the door to our past and in Him facing all types of temptations without succumbing. Our self will, personal goals to satisfy our ego and self pride get left behind and in this relationship of faith, He helps us overcome all wicked thoughts in His power. As Apostle Paul declares “Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7). Our own desires and dreams mean nothing in His might for when He becomes the Shepherd there remains no want (Psalm 23:1).
When we decide to submit to this Door and accept His as our refuge “no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent, for He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:9-11). This security in Lord Jesus is ours through our accepting Him as the Sovereign Lord of our lives.
Second – Unrestricted access to different opportunities on both sides of the Door – God our Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit – The Holy Trinity – do not force any one in creation to surrender his/her will to become a slave. God gave all mankind the gift of ‘free will’ to choose Light or darkness, despite knowing the outcome before anything was created. Lord Jesus also does not hold us captive as slaves but blesses us with His ‘friendship’ and reveals everything that God the Father revealed to Him (John 15:15). The Door opens towards both sides once we have entered through Him and we can ‘go in and out’ and this blessing assures us of His protection inside while making available abundant opportunities outside. Inside we have oneness with God through faith while outside is active life of obedience to His commands. Adam and Eve enjoyed Divine presence during ‘cool of the day’ while enjoying dominion and acting to dominate the earth through extension of His kingdom. Through our continuous obedience we receive Divine will and also power to do that for His ‘good purpose’ for our lives (Philippians 2:13).
The condition for this state is ‘believe and go in’ and this is our step and Lord Jesus then opens the treasures of the mysteries of the Word of God to enable us to know Him and thereby develop a close bond with Him. It is His doing everything in His mercy and grace and not anything from us to make us deserve this. The Door closes out all distractions and temptations to enable us to live with Him in the ‘shadow of His wings’.When we enter, we are totally surrounded by His Divine glorious Light and this does two things for and in us. The first is revelation about the secret mysteries of Word and His Divine nature and the second is our own state of weakness and all that needs removal. Lord Jesus does not leave us in this state and helps us understand the blessings available and the hidden unknown self that keeps us away from God and His blessing.
This ‘going in’ and communion with Him then prepares us for going out without suffering the ill-effects of this while being faced with forces opposing us. We see our real selves, get transformed and empowered by the Lord thus becoming the same inside and outside – ‘children of God’ operating in His power to reveal His glory and will to others. While in His presence He fills us with His love to a state of overflowing of the same towards others to make them also see the glory of this Door. The dreary chores of life then become opportunities to rejoice in His name and authority while remaining in His presence always and everywhere – while going in or going out. Then whether riding the peaks or suffering the turmoil of the lows of the valleys, we are guaranteed of His power to overcome and both situations become same.
It is by entering in that we understand the purpose of our being – to glorify God by serving Him and to rejoice in this like all of His creation – the heavens declaring His glory and the skies proclaiming the work of His hands (Psalm 19:1). And then we remain one with Him while going in or out and like all of nature proclaim His works.
Thirdly, A Life of abundance – The Shepherd does not lock up His sheep and then disappears, leaving them to starve but He assures “They shall find pasture” for He leads them into the places of abundance. This ‘pasture’ satisfies the body, soul and spirit of all who enter – the body receiving healing and fulfillment of material needs, the soul receives ‘His peace’ that He leaves with us (John 14:27). In this rejuvenated life all the cravings of the body and soul are satisfied in His Divine presence.
The Israelites walked in the protection of the “Wall of Fire” that separated them from their enemies while providing Light of Divine glory to them and Lord Jesus offers the same. The Door assures us freedom to move “in and out” to find pasture under His guidance and also guarantees that as and when we knock the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7). The Greek word for assured pasture on going out is “nome” translated as pasture; growth and increase. Thus our entry through this Door blesses us with net growth and increase into a state of abundance (John 10:9-10).
The pasture that we find is not only for our own use only but to be shared with others as an act of His love. He becomes the Master of the house who gives talents to His people ‘as per their capabilities’ and on return demands account from each one. He gives in abundance but desires that His bounties be shared with the thirsty, hungry, naked and the suffering, for this is the process of returning to Him what He has given (Matthew 25:14-39). It is worth remembering that He is the Door and while He allows access through Him to God the Father, He can also bar the same by closing the door by separating the ‘sheep and the goats’.
Lord Jesus is the Door leading us into eternal presence of God. But a door is useful only to those who seek to use it and becomes a barrier for all others standing outside. The first thing is to “believe and go in” and the second is to repeat the process daily till we are lifted up into His Divine presence from this earthly existence. This will provide us perpetual safety and security from all dangers. The third, is to keep Him between self and the storm and not attempt to ride the storm in our own strength – for it is His power that protects and saves by standing between us and the storms of evil and darkness.
As long as He remains my Rock and refuge, no pestilence or plague can come near me!